Friday, August 29, 2008

Sweatin' To The Oldies

Today was my first day of gym class with my kid's. Mikayla and Caleb are being home schooled this year and I am the P.E. teacher every friday. My wife and I are really looking forward to taking an active role in our children's education this year and have some great plans for them. I hate to admit it this, but because of the rain I was forced to try something inside for gym class. We pulled out "sweatin' to the oldies' and had a blast. I grew up making fun of Richard Simmons and could never have imagined myself using his product to teach my kids how to exercise. Times change (although he is still weird) & we had a great time dancing around and getting wild to oldies. I'm sure it is a memory that my kids will tell to their friends when they are older and get a good laugh. I'm sure if you can picture it in your mind you'll get a good laugh as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Great devotional, "Without Wavering"

Today's Scripture

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23 NKJ).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

God knew there would be times when we would be tempted to waver in our confession of hope. Maybe you are believing for something and you’re starting to think, “Is this really for me? Will this really ever happen?” If that’s you today, remember, He who promised is faithful! And His faithfulness doesn’t depend on your ability to figure it all out. His faithfulness doesn’t depend on the plans we can make or the scenarios we can come up with; He’s faithfulness depends on His Word which never changes! Declare His Word and hold on to your confession of hope today. Be confident that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Even when your mind may waver, don’t allow your confession to waver. Declare that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf. Declare that He Who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Remember, there is power in your words and power when your words are in agreement with His Word. As you hold on to your confession of hope, you’ll see His faithfulness, and you’ll move forward into victory in every area of your life.

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. I choose to guard my confession, and I will declare hope in Your Word. I trust that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf and thank You for victory in every area of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No mid-week Cafe this week!

Just in case you missed the update, there is no mid-week cafe this week. Join us next week for the beginning of our new worship experience called, "First Wednesdays," beginning at 6:30 p.m. If you missed the TXT series about the Bible, you can view the series by clicking here.

Back from Pittsburgh!

This past Sunday night I traveled to Pittsburgh with some friends for our quarterly Pastor's group. There were 8 of us (not all pictured) that got together and we had a fantastic time. It's so great to get together with friends that will encourage you to fulfill the greatness that God has for your life. We are all very busy guys but we take the time a few times each year to connect. We have staff pastors, lead pastors & church planters that join together to breathe life into one another. We shared resources, took in a Pirates beat down, watched the new Batman on IMAX and prayed for one another. I'm glad that God has placed great friends in my life!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Great devo on hearing from God

"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:29-31

When we read about God answering prayers in heart-thumping fashion, we want to experience the same kind of thing. Many times we want to feel the ground shake at the sound of God's voice, because if it did, then we would know for certain that God has answered us.
But when that doesn't happen; when God doesn't answer us the way we want or when we want, how often do we convince ourselves that God must not be listening?
The problem, though, isn't that God doesn't hear us. The problem is with our own perspective on his answers.
Don't assume that because God's voice isn't booming down from heaven that he doesn't hear and respond to your prayers.
If you are praying for something right now, don't be disappointed if you don't get the answer you want, when you want it. Instead, trust that God, who knows the desires of your heart and the needs in your life, hears you when you call out to him. And trust that he has your best in mind whenever, wherever and however he answers you.

A Prayer for Today

Dear God, Sometimes when I pray I convince myself of the best answer for that prayer. Help me instead to trust your answer, your timing and your ways. Help me to realize that your answer to my prayer will always be better than my answer. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be careful what you eat!

Lawsuit: Man got 9-foot tapeworm from restaurant

CHICAGO (AP) — A man who contends he got a 9-foot tapeworm after eating undercooked fish has sued a Chicago restaurant.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, Anthony Franz said he ordered salmon salad for lunch from Shaw's Crab House in 2006 and fell violently ill. He later passed the giant parasite, which a pathologist determined came from undercooked fish, such as salmon.

Franz's lawsuit seeks $100,000 from Shaw's and its parent company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, contending the restaurant's staff was negligent in serving him improperly cooked fish.

But Carrol Symank, vice president of food safety for Lettuce Entertain You, said the tapeworm didn't come from Shaw's.

"We have done a thorough investigation and we're confident the restaurant is not the source," he said.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Chicago | Shaw | Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
According to the website, tapeworms can measure up to 50 feet long.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CNN Rick Warren talks politics

Don't miss this Saddleback showdown this weekend! Pray for Rick Warren as He unwraps the world views of the candidates for the world to see. Rick is the real deal and an awesome man of God and I'm stoked to see this event.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How To Walk Through Life's Hot Spots

A friend sent this thought to me today. It's a great little article and it's worth a moment of your time to read it.

How to Walk Through Life's Hot Spots

Living through the pressures of life can be compared to walking through fire. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah believed that if you have faith in God, you can walk through fire and not be burned. He didn't promise that you won't feel the heat, just that you won't be burned.

Keep On Walking.
A surefire way to get burned is to stop walking. When you are afraid, or under extreme stress, or hurting -- keep going. You will get through if you keep dealing with the everyday tasks at hand to the best of your ability. PERSEVERE

Remember That This Difficult Time Will Pass.
It may feel that you are in a repeating time warp, but realize that pain is time-limited. All problems have a beginning and an end. BE PATIENT

Make Rough Times Work For You.
Not everything is good, but the Bible reminds us that everything can be used for good if y ou submit your will to God. Look for ways to learn, grow, or cope in your pain or stress. HAVE COURAGE

Take "What Is" And Make The Most Of It.
Make lemonade from your lemons. You are not called upon to create perfection from every situation, only to make the most of it. Don't waste your time on ceaseless complaining, but look for meaning and joy in all situations. BE CONTENT

Clean Up Your Own Trash.
Stand on your own feet and don't try to blame others for your problems. You are not a victim. Choose to live the rest of your life with a controlled response to what is happening. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

Be True To Your Self.
You will have more strength for dealing with ordeals in life if you have the courage to be true to your own values. Hypocrisy destroys internal energy. MODEL INTEGRITY

Be Gladder Than Madder.
Expressions of gratitude calm the soul and clear the mind. SHOW GRATITUDE

Have As Much Fun As You Can.
Anticipation of fun raises the level of your energy. Learn to laugh through your trials. DISPLAY HUMOR

Determine What Is Within Your Control.
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can choose the frame you put around your experiences. You can choose how you will deal with all situations. EXHIBIT INTERNAL CONTROL

Be Enthusiastic.
Enthusiasm literally means, "God in us." If He is in you, let your life so shine. Learn to love life. Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire. SHOW YOUR PASSION

Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mid-Week Video Cafe, Week 2- TXT


If you missed week one of our video cafe or would like to watch week 2, click here.

Son of Hamas Leader Turns Back on Islam and Embraces Christianity

This is a great interview that I think you will be challenged by. The Son of the leader of Hamas has forsaken everything to follow Jesus Christ. Click here to read the whole story or to watch the interview.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions- Loneliness, Part 2

Loneliness, Part 2 (from Rick Warren's book- God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions)
Yesterday we identified the causes of loneliness. Many of you that struggle with this already knew what some of the causes were! So what do you do about it when you are battling being all alone? Some people become workaholics and simply work, work, work. Others turn to material things and become shopaholics. Still others turn to sexual immorality and affairs to somehow fill the void. Here are a few suggestions for overcoming loneliness.

1. Utilize your time wisely. In other words, make the best of a bad situation. Look at what the Apostle Paul did in his response to loneliness in 2 Timothy 4:12-13, "I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When I was in Troas, I left my coat there with Carpus. So when you come, bring it to me, along with my books, particularly the ones written on parchment." He didn't mope and say, "I have planted all of these churches and traveled the world to share Christ and now I am being treated this way!" He made the best of his situation.
2. Minimize the hurt. Stop talking about how lonely you are and rehearsing it over and over again in your mind. Don't grow bitter as a result of your situation. Paul said in verse 16, "No one came to my support, but... may it not be held against them." Make a decision that you will not allow your sense of loneliness to cause you to be bitter, but let it cause you to be better.
3. Recognize God's presence. Paul said, "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." (v. 17) Where is God when you are lonely? He is right there with you! Jesus said in John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans (or comfortless)." God said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) Remember, there is no place where God is not.
4. Empathize with other's needs. Instead of focusing on yourself, look out to other people. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:17 in response to his loneliness, "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it." He never lost sight of his life's goal even at the end of his life: to help others and reach them with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Here are some questions to consider:
1. What was a lonely situation you faced in the past and how did you overcome it?
2. Think of one person in our church or your neighborhood that is battling loneliness and go out of your way to help them
and encourage them this week!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions- Loneliness, Part 1

Question- How can I overcome loneliness?

Howard Hughes was proof that you can be rich and lonely. Marilyn Monroe showed us that you can be beautiful and all alone. We all know people that got married because of loneliness and divorced a few years later. Loneliness affects each of our lives in many ways. Have you ever wondered what causes us to be lonely? There are really 4 basic causes of loneliness.
1. Transitions of life- Death, Moving, New Job, Growing Older. All of these are transitions that can cause us to feel alone. An example of this is when the Apostle Paul was talking about his life transition in 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
2. Separation- Going away to college, Overseas with the military, career and so on. The Apostle Paul was experiencing this and he encouraged Timothy to come and see him quickly. (2 Timothy 4)
3. Opposition- When people are against you, this can cause a great sense of loneliness. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:14-16, "Alexander the metalworker did many harmful things against me. The Lord will punish him for what he did. 15 You also should be careful that he does not hurt you, because he fought strongly against our teaching. 16 The first time I defended myself, no one helped me; everyone left me. May they be forgiven." All of us have felt this way before!
4. Rejection- From a spouse, a friend, a child or co-worker. The closer that that person is to you the stronger the emotions of aloneness can be. Paul mentions in the scripture above that he was rejected by Alexander and it caused everyone to leave him.

Do you feel lonely today? As you have read through the 4 causes of loneliness, have you identified some area in your life that you need God to come close to today? The book of James tells us in chapter 4, "8 Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure. 9 Be sad, cry, and weep! Change your laughter into crying and your joy into sadness. 10 Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you." God comes close to those who humble themselves and acknowledge their need of him. Go ahead and pray today and turn your loneliness into aloneness with God.

Tomorrow's post will be part 2 and I will share 4 thoughts from Rick Warren's book and God's word about how to overcome loneliness.

Mid-Week Cafe, Week 1 (TXT)

If you missed the first week of this months mid-week cafe you missed a great night. We enjoyed connecting with one another, inspirational acoustic worship and a fantastic video. If you have ever wondered about the history of the Bible, this video is well worth your time. Simply click here and enjoy?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Intimacy With God

We had a great weekend with our guest Pastor Adam McCain. Adam is the director of Christ For The Nations and is involved in various ministries. Our Sunday service was encouraging and sobering and our Sunday night service was inspirational. Saturday morning was much needed. On Saturday he talked to 40-50 leaders from our church about the importance of intimacy with God. Adam defined intimacy as, "a close, familiar & affectionate relationship. We have a tendency to become apathetic and forget that we are in relationship with our Father as Christ-followers, not slaves. (see Galatians 4) He gave 10 signs that you have lost intimacy, or relationship, with God.

1. You are easily frustrated. (Galatians 5:22-23)
2. Your vision is clouded. (You can't seem to hear from God)
3. Lack of confidence. (To walk in the authority of Christ we need relationship with him)
4. Loneliness.
5. Shallow relationships.
6. Making carnal choices. (No longer asking the best question ever, which is, "what is the wisest thing to do?")
7. Depression.
8. Confused about direction. (Not making clear decisions in personal life)
9. Overwhelming sense of guilt. (condemnation)
10. Fear of being still. (Not wanting to just hangout with Jesus)

I was challenged to go deeper in my relationship with God by spending more time in prayer, bible study and ultimately His presense. Have you lost intimacy with God lately? Why not begin restoring that relationship today! God is waiting!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The week in pictures!

This week was a great week with highs and lows. We started off with our small group meeting, pictured is about 2/3'rds of the kids in our group. John & Leslie Fritz moved back to Pittsburgh and it was our final send off.
The next pic shows how excited our 2 youngest were to have mom and dad all to themselves. Our oldest 2 went to VBS with friends. The final 2 pictures show me beating Ed, Buddy & Chad at a specific hole on the Honey Brooke Golf course. I made them pose with me so that I could have proof that I was better than they were for one hole. I shot a 74 on the front 9 so that kind of tells you why I was excited. It was a great week and I am having a great weekend with Pastor Adam McCain and friends. More on that later. Thank God for friends, each day it a gift.